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The Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventions Center treats cerebral venous thrombosis and other cerebrovascular conditions. Venous thrombosis occurs when a blood clot blocks a vein, preventing blood from draining normally back to the heart. When this happens in the brain—specifically in the cerebral veins or the dural sinuses (large collector veins located within the walls of the brain’s outer membrane)—hemorrhage and stroke can occur.
Thrombosis is uncommon in children, accounting for 1 percent or fewer of childhood strokes. It can occur in children with blood disorders that increase the blood’s tendency to form clots, and in children with other complex medical problems. Thrombosis also occurs in infants, but very rarely.
Sometimes cerebral venous thrombosis can be detected and treated early when patients have symptoms such as headache, before they become critically ill. Often, though, it first comes to light when it causes brain hemorrhage and stroke.
If detected early, we can treat cerebral venous thrombosis with anticoagulation, using these blood-thinning medications to help the body break down the blood clot. In some critically ill patients, our Cerebrovascular Surgery and Interventions Center may perform endovascular thrombolysis, using a small catheter inserted into the venous sinuses in the brain to physically break up and extract the clot. If this is a first time event, we will also do an evaluation to see if the child has a genetic or medical condition that makes clotting more likely. We monitor all children closely to help prevent further complications.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”